I always fought the hardest for the toys on the precipice of the big, black garbage bag.
The culling of outgrown playstuffs happened about once a year when I was growing up, and from what I’ve gathered, it’s a fairly common childhood rite of passage. Mom or Dad grabs a Hefty from under the kitchen sink; distracts the child; and, in the name of housekeeping, shelf space and stubbed toes, loads into it a collection of abandoned stuffed animals and action-figure amputees. If successful, the bag goes to charity or a farm where the toys have all the space in the world to run, a.k.a. the basement.
The bag was usually about three-quarters full when I was distracted by my distraction, noticed the pillaging of the funspace and, in sheer desperation, scrapped for each and every item. The sudden prospect of losing a stuffed panda or a Hi-Ho-Cherry-O — despite no longer needing naptime security or to be taught to count higher than 10 — endeared me to my former toys in ways that exceeded their inherent entertainment value. I’d take the toys out of the bag and play with them harder than I’d ever played, both celebrating our storied history together as well as proving to my parents how important it was to keep them around.
Most of the time, it was of no use, and back into the bag they went (as I, of course, tantrummed and symbolically seceded from the family). Every once in a while, though, in a Good Cop turn, Mom or Dad granted a reprieve. I would celebrate, play with the toys for the rest of the day, then promptly never played with them ever again.
A year ago, the Heritage was perhaps close to going in the big, black bag. Is it fair to compare a beloved golf tournament to a cast-off toy with a karate-chop mechanism? Not at all. But some amalgam of the economy, the Grinch and fate was threatening to get rid of the tournament all the same. Potent notes of love and desperation enveloped the atmosphere of the region.
I wrote in this space then that if the Heritage was indeed readying its final act, it deserved a proper send-off, a celebration of all the joy it has brought to the area from all of those who have received it.
The Heritage got that celebration. By a lot.
There was a palpable electricity in the crowds last year, a raised sense of spirit I’ll venture to attribute to the tenuous outlook on the tournament’s future. If the goal was to prove to the powers that be that the Heritage toy needed to stay in the Lowcountry toybox, that point came across.
Thankfully, two gallant knights upon steeds of good tidings stepped up as sponsors, saving the tournament, granting the reprieve. I have little doubt that this year’s RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing will be uproarious, with denizens of the Lowcountry cherishing and enjoying what they so nearly lost.
But I hope, in years after this one, that spirit isn’t forgotten, that the toy gets played with just as hard. As much fun as last year was and this year promises to be, I’d hate for the Heritage to be presumed safe and taken for granted.
So for this year, and the next, and the next: Go. Play. Keep the Hefty bag under the sink.
Look for Andy playing Hi-Ho-Cherry-O to the right of the green on No. 8.